Wednesday, March 30, 2011

verdana. i always choose verdana. it says something about me i suppose. i am in no mood to wonder.   

one main sound. then she writes this: how will i ever straighten this out? 

so i'm inspired by this tonight just as i was the first and third and sixth times i've read her book. read her book and passed it on. this book, one of only four i've saved out of hundreds i've owned. come and go molly snow.  

most pages are dog earred to direct me to notes i've written in the margins and passages i've circled. come and go molly snow. come and go and come and go. 

"how will i ever straighten that out? grief and lust, sorrow and love. as if there's one deep place that everything real comes out of, and when we're in that place's charge, there aren't any rules, it's just being swept along, without any will whatsoever." 

i write tonight and i read. it's been two years. i choose come and go molly snow specifically because i know i will get to the part, at the end, where she chooses to go on living despite the grief within grief within grief. 

i choose this book as the first in my return to reading in two years because i sense it may have the information i need to also choose to go on living.

march 11 2009. i'm waiting at the left turn light on 21st avenue to get onto weidler when my phone rings and it's my younger son cat. i pick up the call since it was still legal, then, to talk on a cell while driving. i've been waiting for his call to see if he's decided to go with me up to seattle. my second grandson, caleb, who was born two months ago with a horrible heart condition, is schedule for surgery tomorrow. my plan is to drive up from portland and i've been hoping cat will fly in from boise. the major miracle that is caleb's living at all let alone this long could easily be ending soon. i'm concerned for my older son if we lose caleb and i'm concerned for myself as well. the past few months, since the ultrasound and then the birth, have been ones of deep worry for me; i've known since his conception that caleb probably wouldn't hang around, and if he did it wouldn't be for long.  

so i'm tense anyway, and much more exhausted than i know and won't even be willing to know for another two years. so when i answer cat's call i'm expecting him to have made plans to fly over soon. what he tells me instead throws my world into such an intense tailspin that even today, writing for the first time since, i'm amazed i chose to live through it. i had no idea i had that kind of courage in me.  

caleb died four days later exactly two months after he was born. after lying with his chest open wide post-surgery, his parents had him taken off life support. they had him cremated. there was not a memorial service. i'd visited him two times but never was allowed to hold him. there will always be a hole in my own heart because of losing caleb. it's sacred. the grief hurts so hard that it could trip me up forever if i let it; the grief within the grief within the grief that is the story that is caleb and the stories surrounding his. i will only tell my own. the stories belonging to others belong to them.  

so today, march 28 2011 i sit cross-legged on my bed and start again, to write. last friday my blood pressure was 170/98 so yesterday i went and got a prescription. i took my first pill this morning and i think i feel better. it needs to get down to 140 over something within a week i'm told. so we'll see if i can manage that. i'm sick because i've lived hard and i'm sick from the anxiety. but mostly i'm sick from the grief. cat says this will do it, writing it down and getting it out. and most of the time cat is right. so i'm choosing once again, to live in hope.  

it's amazing the curve balls life can pitch you. everybody's experienced them. and even though as far as traumatic lives go mine is towards the top of the scale, i never realized the suffering until two years ago. i knew things were hard and had always been but i always saw the silver lining. always. then the shift ;) started to hit. and last friday i thought well maybe i couldn't take it anymore, maybe it was getting close to the time for me to check out. go see caleb. 

it's not as all like i wanted to. not at all. i'm no where near ready for that. my heart shatters just thinking about leaving cat and his family. not getting to see j grow up. so it's not like i want that. but i was starting to get the feeling that it might be about to sneak up on me. so that made me sad and afraid. and for a couple mornings there i was not at all my usual optimistic self.

 things are always complicated with me. there's never been anything simple about how i think or feel, how i create, how i live. it often overwhelms others, this way that i am, and from time to time it overwhelms me. but i appreciate the complexity because it makes me a person able to experience a great many things. it may turn out that the greater the loves the greater the suffering. i don't know if the universe works that way or not. the universe and i have been in some pretty heavy transitioning lately.  

so for now, as long as it holds, i'll write and read again, try and get back into that groove where i've lived so many years of my life, with my books and with my words. in the background of it all i stream nic harcourt's weekly show; like many musicians in my life i'll cling to him if i have to, if that's what it takes to get through this and onto the other side of this fairly deep ditch i've found myself in. 

i don't know, now, if i'll switch to fiction from this point on. maybe i'll mix it up. maybe i'll just write any damn way i choose to write at the moment i'm writing. all this patriarchal crap is nonsense anyway, this fucked up linear thinking, rules for grammar and spelling, test-based curriculums. which should, i believe, be curriculi since that's the latin past tense. see what i mean? my god. japan's on fire and the radiation has crossed by us once and undoubtedly will soon again. in a few short years 2.5 billion people in urban areas will be without access to fresh water. don't know how many will be without it in rural areas nor do i know how many people are currently without but i do know that we have near about 7 billion people on the planet right now and these numbers are all starting to sound impossibly large. 

the challenge is to find the balance between the knowing of the way of things and letting all the knowledge spread out - through all the living - instead of trying to shore it all up myself. i'm just one person. and even though we appear to be separate we are instead joined and collectively we experience the suffering as well as the joy.  

it's not a philosophy i'm after here. i don't really know my sarte from my kant. my education, for the most part, is rather slim. i know a bit about contemporary american women writers. a few of them anyway. i tend to stick to a few - morrison, paley, gilchrist, dillard - and i read their books again and again. those books i've studied just like mary ann taylor-hall's "come and go molly snow." seriously and painstakingly. sentence by sentence by sentence. for a time i slept with dillard's "teaching a stone to talk" under my pillow. there was a day i wrote in my journal again and again: "a weasel is wild."  

but i'm no scholar, even on those i've studied. through my time at the university i got good grades but all the theories were, for the most part, lost on me. i was only there for some direction on what to read and to buy myself a bit of time to do that reading. it was okay, it was good. i'm grateful for the history of literature, the little bit i know, for shakespeare, the poets of the harlem renaissance, the cantos, the modernists.  

so no grand design here, no thought out plot, no strive for anything hugely original. even my own unique story is hardly original. millions have walked before me in these very same shoes.  

instead, i believe my main intention here is to tell my story so it's out in the universe where it can be shared. where it can be channeled and revised. where it can be honed by others into something new, something they create and call their own. 

i also want to get it all off my chest. 

if i can accomplish one thing though, i'd really, really like to add to the universal knowledge that it's a ugly and shameful myth that's been perpetuated that childhood has to be hard. just because millions and millions of children have suffered beyond all comprehension does not mean it has to continue on and on and on. our poor planet earth. she must be so sad at what we've become. 

it's said that listening to music helps to lower one's blood pressure. i, then, will keep harcourt in the background and tell my story the way it goes. 

and i'll begin, by borrowing something from myself. 

thank you for reading.


The world is full of stories. Stories of war, love, betrayal. Stories about la playa, the beach. Passion, desire, redemption. My stories lie between layers and layers of stories told every minute of the whole entire life of this planet, centuries of layers of stories. Witches burned, drowned, elaborate embroidery on their long dresses. Lost children and children lost, in grassy medians, on the sides of many, many roads, in ditches, in camps. 

Early in the morning on March 3, 2002, I left the house and the things there still broken, the things I'd never now be able to repair, and drove westward, towards the Pacific ocean. I believed that morning, that my stories would come sooner, that once I'd left there, the house where many of them began and where even more of them continued, that I would, right then, begin the task of telling them. But that wasn't to be. Instead, I had to accumulate a few more, four years more of stories before I found this, a place to start. 

2004, 2005, 2006

1. "me and jesus tryin to keep loose 
one step ahead of the goose-steppin noose. 
new world order in an old world age 
supply and demand - and happiness is in short supply. 
drug dealer's not dealin drugs 
because people do drugs 
it's so they will 
a way of fixing them 
while they break." 
"... don't do me like you done can't you see  
i'm somebody's kid." 
--john trudell, aka grafitti man, 1986 

living a life packed with premonitions is fun at first. then it gets a little old and a lot tiring. always knowing what's ahead. the difficult part of being a clairvoyant (or whatever i am, i don't actually see things i just know them. so it's called something else and i'm not about to look it up) is getting the time line right. like everything that's happening now in america for example, i thought was going to happen last year. so it can be some needless anxiety. when people ask me what i know about them, their future or something about someone they love, i don't want to say a word. it's tricky and can lead to needless anxiety. 

like a few months ago a good friend asked me if she should go ahead and get pregnant, if the time was right. so i tell her this: wait until after the elections. if the tea party wins then no, wait. so a couple weeks after the election and the tea party has in fact won, i wake up one day knowing she's pregnant. couple months later she calls to confirm. now she wants to know the gender so i tell her (as i've told her for the six years i've known her that her first child would be a boy and the second) a girl. first her midwife confirms through her own intuitive knowledge and then the ultrasound does.  

my friend is elated. her practical and humble but extremely charmed life appears to be right on course. 

but she doesn't know what i know today. and one of the things i know is the radioactive mess from japan has already passed us once. she may not even know that the meltdown has occurred and all the radioactive junk is already in the ocean. she knows, however, that japan is right across us and that our borders share the same pacific ocean. she probably knows that radioactivity is far harder on pregnant women, children, and babies than any others.  

i've known these things, as i do the other things, for years sometimes. then what i've known gets confirmed by alternative sources of news on the internet. i don't know if jen gets any news at all and if she does it's from the networks. 

we've landed ourselves in a big bad pickle we humans, and the enormity of it, the scale, is so vast that those like me who have this knowledge wonder if we're at the tipping point. there are scientists who say we are probably in the process of the sixth great extinction the planet has known. this time, it seems, humans could very well be a part of it. 

but how we landed here interests me more than the fact that we have and that we'll have to work snap snap fast to clean it up if that's even possible. and how we landed here seems to be about one half evil madmen and the other half greed. 

there's no other answer for the centuries of pain and suffering inflicted on the many by the few. there is no other answer for why children suffer, bright eyed and inquisitive children, children whose energy is so pure and light that it takes your breath away to be in the presence. but yet ever since cain killed abel, killed his own brother over some petty jealous reaction, life for the kids has pretty much sucked. except for those very privileged few who escape either through money or kindness, children have been used for every ugly thing imaginable. and that maybe, most of all, is why our Mother Earth is unhappy. 

so when my friend asks me if it's a good time to start having another baby i don't want to be in the position she puts me in. but i don't lie. so i tell her what i tell her. but she doesn't heed it. and that' show life keeps going. grief within grief within grief.  

but she'll be the sweetest little baby girl. that much is certain.
2. "be the ocean when it meets the sky 
(greek freighters are dumping crap somewhere right now) 
be the magic in the northern lights 
(the ice is melting!) 
be the river as it rolls along 
(toxic waste dumpin from corporate farms
 be the rain you remember fallin 
(be the rain, be the rain) 
save the planet for another day 
(be the rain, be the rain) 
be the river as it rolls along
 (be the rain, be the rain) 
--neil young, greendale, august 19, 2003 

no despair, faith says. i think it's faith in the story "friends" when selena lay dying and the women had gathered to help her along. i think it's there in that story but i can't be sure. i have loaned my grace paley books and have yet to get them back.  

so then, despair is not an option. i read paley for the first time in 1985 and maybe it was then i started following that doctrine though that book was written later i believe. but someone influenced me into that way of thinking: no despair. close, maybe. but no cigar. 

also in 1985 i read atwood's "handmaid's tale." today while skimming the posts of a group i follow i see a link to a synopsis and i go there and familiarize myself with the story again. and here we are in america, as atwood writes, perched on the edge of destruction. the poster writes: are we soon to be on our knees with hoods on our heads? 

but that is nowhere for me to go. i lost all effectiveness if i do. there are those who write and speak those truths and they're good and it's important for the messages to be delivered. but i'm not a politician, i'm a poet. and all i can do is tell the stories that come to me and hope i contribute that way.  

then, the other night, i find myself there again, hovering dangerously close to despair. doing a dance with despair, i say to cat. standing outside my room, smoking a cigarette, wondering if maybe it's check out time, i start to cry. and even though it's senseless and silly to cry for myself, to cry for the sadness of leaving my best boys, i do it anyway. i know i won't know sadness after i'm gone but i cry anyway. and then i cry because they'll miss me and because it will hurt their lives in hard ways and after all that cat's been through i hate the thought of this. loss. more piled on piled on heaps already. and i cry for j because j loves his nani so much and god it would hurt him to miss me. 

then it seemed like there was nothing else to do, nowhere else to turn my mind except to acceptance. except to the absolutely only one truth that existed that night and, even if we don't recognize and acknowledge it, exists every night and every day and every single nano second of our lives. 

because this is all - all of it a crap shoot. there is no justice and nothing is fair. people die before their time each day. every single day 23,000 children die because they're fucking hungry and because there's not enough water for them to drink. it's how we roll here. centuries of cutting our losses with a mere shrug. all this time of never, ever one single time, ending once and for all: hunger.

 back inside after smoking, sitting cross-legged on my bed, i think of grace paley. i think of her character "faith." i think about how her name is grace and the name i use for writing sometimes is ruthie grace. i think about how ruth is another character of hers. i think about how my nani was named grace and my other nani named ruth. i think about how grace paley's daughter is named laura. 

which leads me to think about how i must have faith. i must be faith. i must be the rain. i must be the rain even though a hard rain's gonna fall.  

we're all connected, we're all one. we don't necessarily like to believe this but we have to. if we have any iceberg's change at all in hell we must believe this and behave accordingly. i do not understand the mad evil men who hurt children but i've seen the results, how children, younger and younger all the time, are capable of extreme acts of violence against each other. something must be done. and it's gotta be quick.

but now my day has ended and i have to switch gears, i have to read or watch or listen to something that will bring me, i hope, sweet dreams. so i find dear grace paley on a video and watch her getting arrested clear back in the 60s and 70s while protesting nuclear power. and then i listen to her read some of her stories. and then yet another day has passed.

3. "in my early years i hid my tears, and passed my days alone. 
adrift on an ocean of loneliness 
my dreams like nets were thrown 
to catch the love that i'd heard of 
in books and films and songs 
now there's a world of illusion and fantasy 
in the place where the real world belongs. 
still i look for the beauty in songs. 
jackson browne, "farther on" from late for the sky, 1974 


driving home from the zoom-care i put the radio on even though i have absolutely no faith anymore in our local radio. even the station that used to play jesse colin young and neil young and jackson browne daily play only mindless crap now. i swear there's some deal with the record companies to play rod stewert and fleetwood mac and the rolling stones day after day. oh. and steve miller. billy mac is a detective down in texas, you know he knows just what exactly the facts is. jayzus. crap. 

but. since this was a special day and my sixth chakra or seventh chakra or whichever one it is that makes the top of my head feel like it's lifting off was making the top of my head feel like it was lifting off i was able to manage extraordinary things through the radio. 

jackson browne. three in a row. i've done this on that station before; one day i got it to play "ridgetop" by jesse which they probably haven't done in about twenty years. but jb and three in a row? and now let's see what those three were. 

first, "take it easy" which has nearly been completely fucking ruined by the fucking commercial radio by playing the eagles' version several times a day for right about twenty years. my god. no one ever plays jackson's and they are two completely different songs so the whole beauty of jackson's composition has been grossly destroyed by the eagles' version. 

(a quick search for jd souther found me this gem: he despises the spotlight and rock and roll band so much that he's refused the career he could have had as a star. but this is the really interesting part: he's given away, let me repeat that: given away some of the eagles' best songs including "new kid in town" which is definitely one of my most favorite. god. i can't decide which corporation is despise most but i'm leaning heavily toward the music industry. fuckers). 

but anyway. back to jackson's 3-song set on the radio. so i'm driving sorta slow with the window down even though it's cold. and i'm feeling sorta you know, heavy, like the news from the doctors has startled me so i'm in shock a little bit. but my MAIN man jackson says:

take it easy 
take it easy 
don't let the sound of your own wheels 
drive you crazy 
lighten up while you still can 
don't even try to understand 
just find a place to make your stand 
and take it easy 

so that's, you know, fairly prophetic. many, many years i've let jackson guide me through the bad days. 

and then the dj does this, which is so unhead of i can't believe it's happening and when "take it easy" started i thought no, never, they will never let this song slide into the next one like it does on the album. they will absolutely cut it off and play some dogshit "stay" or "cocaine" or "running on empty." but miracle & into the flawless and breathtaking transition into "our lady of the well":
across my home has grown the shadow 
of a cruel and senseless hand 
though in some strong hearts 
the love and truth remain. 
but it has taken me this distance 
and a woman's smile to learn 
that my heart remains among them 
and to them i must return. 

and then, simply, "something fine."

The Way I Live Now

Black Dogs 
I'm staying at the house where I sleep. During all the years I've been here, caring for the dogs and the cat, my exhaustion surfaces and I sleep. Last July I was here for five weeks and was only awake for a couple hours at a time; walking the dogs, making a meal, running a load of laundry - one task was all I could endure and I'd find myself unable to function further, so I'd find my way to the bed, curl up with the dogs, and sleep.
It's said that dreams of houses relay messages about oneself. That I dream one with a beautiful kitchen in red and green and white but, when a corner of the flooring is removed the joists are missing, says volumes. The next dream, one of a house too, is where massive preparations are being made for a wedding - mine. This house is spacious and multi-level. Friends I don't even know are everywhere. As the final touches are being seen to I go take a nap. When I wake up it's 11:11 pm and the place is dark and everyone's gone. It seems I've missed my own wedding which doesn't concern me a whole lot because there was never a groom anyway.

While sleeping on my son's couch I dream that something is crushing me, heavy enough I find it hard to breathe. Waking up I find the fifty pound black retriever sprawled across me. Well no wonder.
My young friend has returned from Iraq where he served for a year as a medic. The most common but least severe ailments he treated were STDs. He found it especially hard to explain to soldiers returning from leave that monogamy is a philosophy and safe sex a practice. This most often translated into: you got it from your wife. His realization that men can be brutes wasn't gradual; an initial indication was when, driving in a Hummer, he watched his comrades piss in empty Gatorade bottles, screw on the tops, and toss them to the children running along side.

When he was fifteen I taught him bar chords and a minor pentatonic scale. Along with thirty pounds he's brought back with him an amazing ability to write songs. His voice and guitar drift up from the basement here, where he lives down a flight of break-your-neck stairs with his mattress crammed in the only space left next to the washer and dryer. There are spiders but nothing like the Camel ones he saw in the desert that were bigger than his hand. Naturally in an environment such as that, on the border between Iraq and Iran, the captured spiders were torched with lighters. Back home now he vacuums them. His innate kindness is extraordinary but there are far too many to catch and release.
There's six hundred square feet but somehow we all fit. At night I occupy the couch and during the day I squeeze into the back corner of the kitchen table and read or write. Jake lives downstairs. There are computer cords everywhere and the five year old kid and the fifty pound black retriever navigate them with uncanny ease. Everyone is resigned to our situation and flare ups are rare. Somehow the hose broke off the bucket that collects the rain and now someone must remember to empty it often or else the basement will flood again. This weekend one of us will find the time to purchase a new hose.
While staying here at the house where I sleep, events occur which alter my reality. Two years ago today my second grandson died. The fact that it was inevitable alleviated none of the pain. I sat with the black dogs on the back porch and watched the sky darken. They huddled close, uncharacteristically needy, sensing.
Then, a year ago while staying here, I saw a young man get hit by a car while riding his skateboard. He was flying down the hill and a car turned right without looking and tossed his body up in the air. By the time I ran to him he was sitting up, dazed. His blue eyes matched mine and a stray blonde dred lock had escaped his headband. When he refused my offer to call an ambulance, I drove him to the hospital and stayed with him the hours it took to make sure he was going to be okay. The cop informs me that it's exceptionally rare for people to stop and help at accidents. "But next time," the cop says, "don't ask if someone wants an ambulance, just call one." Next time?
I dream my older boy frantically pushes gurneys and equipment out of the way, trying to get down the hallway of the hospital to the phone. His eyes, like his baby son's, match mine. But in this dream his eyes are closed and he can't see where he's going. The sound of everything crashing about wakes me up.

Or else I'll see that body tossed in the air though I never see it fall back down. Just the impact and the flying. Occasionally, maybe ten times out of the hundred I've had this dream, I will hear my phone ringing but I can't get to it because it's across the street where I've left my car, and the boulevard, suddenly and untypically, is jammed with speeding cars.

Coming around the corner of an office I clean, I bump into a fellow who works in the shop. He's leaving the bathroom I'm intending to spruce up next. He's wearing gloves and has rags in his hand. He looks embarrassed and says, "I hate the thought of you cleaning up after us. So that's why I try and beat you to it. How bad is it?" he asks. "Jeez," I say. "Thank you, really. But no worries, k?"

In this six hundred square feet house we share there is always something going on. Currently the living room is crammed with DJ equipment; my son is in between gigs and there's nowhere else to store it. My daughter in law brushes off the crud the dog has left behind on the only couch and plops down with the intention of studying. The kid and I play outside as long as possible to avoid the crunch. My son and his wife both go to school full time and when he's not DJing he makes films while she adds and subtracts numbers for an accountant. Her brother Jake is pondering his next move which will probably be to go to nursing school on the funds due him from his service to the Oligarchy. I'm watching the kid and waiting around for some of the dust to clear.
My son makes horror movies. The latest is a Batman parody. Somehow, in his infinite ability to find ways to make things happen, he meets a man in the city who owns an incredibly authentic looking Bat suit. Some deal is made and I am given directions to a pawn shop in east county along with two hundred dollars to pick it up. The boots look to be a size thirteen and of all the things in the living room I fret most about tripping over it is them. They're the blackest of black: like black widow spiders are.
For a time I slept with a book under my pillow at night and during the day gave myself writing lessons. I have a journal with several pages where I've scrawled, “A weasel is wild.” It's what I had to work with.
Once I was a nanny for a young boy from the time he was nine until just before he turned fourteen. In January he was diagnosed with diabetes. Several months before he'd complained to me that he was sick of getting up in the middle of the night to pee. Since he never complained about anything I told his parents. I also added my observation that he'd seemed a little less energetic than usual. They nodded their concern.

During my tenure with this family I made assumptions. I believed that since both parents had stellar advanced degrees, a certain amount of money anyway, and a genuine love and interest in the lives of their children that they had more sense than field mice. Assumptions are subjective.
Last summer while staying here with the black dogs and the cat, I sat outside beneath a red umbrella. The sky was deep blue. On the table was a bowl of freshly picked peas and a yellow hair tie. It was about all I could manage: color.

Now, nearly a year later, I still sleep, but without that urgency, though I measure my time here, in loss.

When I got to the hospital that morning, after he'd been admitted the night before, I acknowledged his mother and conversed warmly until she felt properly attended to. She was, after all, the mother of a now-diabetic child. Then I tended to him on the hospital bed with all his tubes and such and said: Where's your shoes kiddo? We're going for a walk.

At the hospital the skater uses my phone to call his mother in Montana. She asks to speak to me and thanks me, and asks if I will keep her posted. Afterward, I drive him to McDonalds because he's hungry. Then, at the pharmacy, I buy his medications. He tells me stories: how he lives in his car because the sponsorship money from the skateboard company only lasted awhile. He's alone here in the city and lonely.

At the hospital it's impossible not to note the size of the newborn boy's feet because they're really big for his tiny three pound frame. Since he's strapped down and hooked up we pay much attention to these feet and cup them in our hands and gently rub. The only other access to his sweet body is his head where blonde wisps accompany alert blue eyes. Pat his head, rub his feet; only the parents can hold him.
Boys' feet, their shoes. All those flat soles and tangled laces. I've never like putting shoes on the feet of boys. It's something unnatural. They clench and resist and some shoving inevitably ensues.

But then it's done and they're back on their boards, in their cars, on the courts, ladders, boats, down the concrete corridors of the interstates, across the intersections of the boulevards, in formation, in free-fall, in tree forts, these particular three all blonde and blue eyed, and each with the same sort of feet.
On Saturdays I would clean house hoping that on Sunday I could read. How many mothers say yes when asked if they'd do it over again. Look me in the eye, listen: the deck is stacked, the question loaded. In twenty years there are 1,040 Saturdays.
Black Dogs
They've taken to eating grass now. They chew it patiently like cows do. Their owners have no idea why. When they leave the Chow tells me this: I'm sixty eight years old in dog time and what I'd really like is a bite now and then, of steak. But even though he does that trick with the one eyebrow while relaying this information I won't be swayed. These dogs, like their owners, adhere to strict lifestyle regimes and I'm hired to enforce them. So, when sitting outside I notice something fly over the fence and watch the dogs pounce, I'm compelled to track down the perpetrator – the mailman – and tell him he really cannot give them treats.
I live out of Trader Joe's bags stored in the trunk of my car. It's organized: clothes, dirty clothes,work, work, books, library books due, shoes. In the backseat it looks as though I house a beaver; next to the booster chair lives all treasure collected during walks with the five year old: sticks, rocks, flowers.

It won't stop raining, it's been months. The retriever's hooked nails shred the grass. The seed lies dormant – it's too cold and dark. After all the games with balls and the walks and the bike rides the kid digs in the backyard. The holes are deep and fill with water. He tromps fearlessly through up to his knees. Between him and the dog huge clumps of mud are everywhere and a great deal of it ends up inside. Everyone has a turn with the broom but my daughter in law bears the brunt of it.
About the time I told the child's parents he seemed tired and was peeing a lot, I started having to pull over for emergency vehicles a few times a week. When he collapsed on the floor right after Christmas it was the first of six calls I would make to 9-11 in as many months. The second time was when I saw a man having a seizure at the dog park. The fourth time was in response to a neighbor's complaint that her husband was probably for real this time. The few times a week continued to the point where the grandson would roll his eyes and say, “Jeez Nani, pull over!” Several times a week, I mean my god. What are the odds?

I had a brief reprieve after a visit to the ER myself where the doctor said my blood pressure was raging and that I needed medication. But then, it started all over again.

Full Circle
The load-in was fairly straight ahead except for the parking ticket

This son whose couch I'm living on had phenomena seven times in twelve months between the age of two and three. Those nights I spent waiting for him to catch a breath. There were other nights during this time period, slightly before, and for many years after, when I would spend the night in my truck wishing his father would stop breathing.

The house is unlike any other I've seen, several stories up, glass windows and ceiling. There is a man there who's around my age, confident, assured, friendly. He holds the keys to opportunity. I consider him a contractor.

A woman is helping me get to know my way around. I am learning the ropes. Just when I'm about done another woman shows up. She's older than me, brown hair, brown clothes, she holds a purse in both hands in front of her. These two women discuss children
Eve of my younger son's birth.

gravel hot water turns to ice.

If I want to be a skater someday,” the child asks me, “

worse than a poet, a ballerina, a torch singer

camas – ancestors, squeezed a rat to death

sophie's choice

A choice between two persons or things that will result in the death or destruction of the person or thing not chosen.

full circle

kids never breathe a word